Quick guide to risk assessment
Conducting a risk assessment is a systematic process to identify and manage potential hazards in the workplace.
Why carry out a risk assessment?
Carrying out a risk assessment is essential for identifying potential hazards in the workplace.
By systematically evaluating the likelihood and severity of each hazard, companies can prioritise and implement appropriate measures to mitigate or eliminate risks.
Taking a proactive approach like this not only ensures the safety and well-being of employees and stakeholders, but also helps ensure your business complies with regulations.
But, in addition to keeping you the right side of the law, a thorough risk assessment can prevent financial losses, enhance operational efficiency, and protect your company’s reputation.
It’s the first step to creating a safe and resilient working environment.
Here's a simple, step-by-step guide to creating a risk assessment:
What are the hazards?
- Physical inspection, Walk around the workplace and look for potential hazards. This includes anything that may cause harm.
- Speak to your staff. They might be aware of hazards that aren't immediately obvious.
- Check the instructions. Sounds obvious but lots of us are guilty of skipping these! For machinery and equipment, these can be the quickest way to highlight potential dangers.
- Review accident records. This can help identify less obvious hazards that have cropped up in the past.
Who could be hurt and in what way?
For each hazard, think about:
- Who it could affect (e.g., employees, contractors, visitors, etc.).
- How they might be harmed (e.g., injury, illness).
What are the risks and fixes to them?
- Rate the risk. How likely is this hazard going to cause harm and how bad could it be?
- Decide on control measures. What can you put in place to effectively control the risk? This could involve:
- Removing the hazard entirely.
- Implementing safety procedures.
- Providing PPE (personal protective equipment).
Record the findings and take action!
- If you have more than a few employees, it's essential to document your risk assessment. This should include:
- The hazard.
- Who is at risk.
- The control measures.
- Any further action needed.
- Implementation: Ensure that the control measures are put in place.
Get the staff involved
Training: Ensure employees are trained on the risks and the measures in place to control them.
Feedback: Encourage employees to provide feedback on the risk assessment and the control measures.
Monitor and review your findings regularly
- Regular checks. Check that measures are being followed and are effective.
- Update training. If there are changes to procedures, new equipment, or new staff, ensure everyone knows the drill.
- Stay Informed. Regulations and best practices change. Keep up to date with the latest guidelines from health and safety organisations.
Remember, the goal of a risk assessment isn’t just form-filling and box-ticking. It’s a constantly managed way of identifying risks and making sure measures are in place to protect everyone.
Use our handy reminder graphic to keep it front of mind but there are also health and safety templates to speed up and help organise the job.
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